THE DRAFT budget proposals agreed by Stratford District Council’s cabinet are now out for public consultation.
The plans will be used to consult with the public, local businesses and the overview and scrutiny committee before final recommendations to be made to council are considered at the cabinet meeting on February 8.
The proposals include a council tax increase of £5 a year on a Band D property from from £144.12 to £149.12.
Others could see some £2.5million released from the council’s earmarked reserve pots to the general funds pot, with £1.4million of reserves no longer being allocated to major projects including the Studley Leisure Centre Gym, The Business Centre Workshop and The Empty Homes Loan Scheme.
Some £1million will still be held to pursue the Compulsory Purchase Order of Wellesbourne Airfield.
New charges for the garden waste service – to be implemented in April – and increases to the level of off-street parking have been included in the budget.
The proposals are intended to curb the financial impact of the pandemic through which revenue losses are estimated to be around £2.6million, and expected to triple over the next five years.
District council leader Tony Jefferson said: “We have to set our budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy against the backcloth of tremendous uncertainty. We have estimated that the covid-19 pandemic will cost us £7.5million over the next five years, and that was before taking account of the latest lockdown. So it could end up costing us more. Government has provided a one year financial settlement which means that we do not know what financial support we will receive beyond 2021/22.
“We have been able to protect the provision of services to residents for next year. It is not surprising, however, that we have had to take some difficult decisions. The difficult decisions will not need to be actioned until 2022/23 and beyond, but they demonstrate the impact of the savings we need to make. The details of the Government’s Spending Review later this year will be crucial.
“Covid 19 has had a massive impact. The world has changed and we have to adapt to that changed world. There is no point pretending that we can keep supporting everything beyond next year. That would simply deny reality and store up even more difficult decisions in future.”
The proposals will now go out for consultation.
Visit www.stratford.gov.uk to view and comment on the budget consultation.